Victims of disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein have reached tentative deal worth $44 million to settle civil lawsuits related to his sexual misconduct.
Lawyers briefing a number of media outlets about the agreement say the majority of the money — $30 million — will be used to pay the plaintiffs in the lawsuits, who include alleged victims, creditors of Weinstein’s former studio, and some former employees.
The remaining $14 million will be used to pay legal fees, including for associates of Weinstein who were named as defendants in the lawsuits.
The terms of the agreement have not been made public, but alleged victims who have not joined the suit will be watching to see if the wording includes an admission of wrongdoing from Weinstein, who has so far denied sexually harassing or assaulting any of the more than 80 women who have come forward.
Attorneys involved in the negotiations told a federal bankruptcy court judge on Thursday that a breakthrough in the on-going mediation process had put a settlement within reach.
“We now have an economic agreement in principle,” Adam Harris, a lawyer for studio co-founder Bob Weinstein, told the judge. “I personally am very optimistic,” Harris added.
“I think this is positive for the victims involved and this helps them avoid the stress and trauma of full litigation."
Weinstein is facing more than a dozen lawsuits from women who claim he sexually harassed them over a period of decades. A lawsuit filed by the New York attorney general also alleges that Weinstein’s media company violated labor laws by enabling his mistreatment of women.
The tentative deal, which will have to be approved by a judge next month, is significantly less than a proposed $90 million victims’ fund that was discussed last year when an investment company was considering buying the assets of the Weinstein Company.
“I think this is positive for the victims involved and this helps them avoid the stress and trauma of full litigation. This is a measure of justice,” Aaron Filler, the attorney for Paz de la Huerta, told CNN. The actress claims Weinstein raped her in her apartment on two separate occasions in 2010.
Weinstein’s alleged crimes were first exposed by the New York Times and the New Yorker in October 2017, sparking the global #MeToo movement.
The 67-year-old is facing criminal charges in New York, where he is accused of rape in the first and third degree and a criminal sex act in the first degree. That trial is set to begin in September.
Cover: Harvey Weinstein returns from lunch to State Supreme Court, in New York, Friday, April 26, 2019. A judge decided Friday to hold an important pretrial hearing in Harvey Weinstein's sexual assault case in secret, saying the former movie mogul's right to a fair trial outweighed news organizations' arguments for keeping the courtroom open. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)